Assam minister files defamation suit against daily, activist

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Monday filed a criminal defamation suit against The Sentinel newspaper and farmers group leader, Akhil Gogoi for charges of falsely accusing him of receiving a car as gift from a scam accused now in jail.
'Earlier I said I would file a civil defamation case of Rs.30 million against Akhil Gogoi for falsely accusing me of having taken a car from R.H. Khan (charged of involvement in the multi-million-rupee financial scam in North Cachar Hills district and in jail), but since he (Gogoi) said he doesn't have money, so I opted for a criminal suit,' Sarma said.
Gogoi, leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity, a group fighting for the welfare of farmers, was last week quoted as saying that Khan gifted a luxury car to the minister and tried to involve his name in the financial scam currently being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The minister said The Sentinel, an English daily from Guwahati, quoted Gogoi and carried the report in its front page last week.
'The court after hearing the minister issued summons to the editor, managing editor, and publisher of The Sentinel and Akhil Gogoi to appear before the court on July 27,' Debajit Saikia, the minister's legal counsel, said.
There are allegations by the opposition and Gogoi in recent weeks that at least seven ministers were named by the National Investigation Agency that earlier probed the financial scam in the NC Hills district.
'Let the opposition furnish documents regarding involvement of any ministers to the CBI. We shall take action if any ministers are found to be involved,' Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.